Tag: commuting prison sentences

Obama Commutes Sentences of 330 Drug Prisoners on Final Day of Presidency

President Barack Obama (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

article by Ryan J. Rielly and Elise Foley via huffingtonpost.com

President Barack Obama shortened the sentences of 330 federal prisoners on Thursday, less than 24 hours before Donald Trump takes office. With Thursday’s announcement, Obama has now granted commutations to 1,715 federal prisoners.

A review of Thursday’s list indicates that all of those 330 clemency cases were for drug or drug-related cases. Obama’s announcement followed the Tuesday commutations of the sentences of Chelsea Manning and of more than 200 federal prisoners charged with drug offenses.

“With this last act of mercy, President Obama has closed out a historic effort to restore some balance and fairness to a federal prison system that has caused needless destruction of thousands of lives and families,” Jessica Jackson Sloan, national director of the #cut50 initiative, said in a statement. “We continue to waste our precious resources to lock up people who have committed drug-related crimes that do not warrant decades, and certainly not life, in prison.”

Jackson Sloan said there are “still too many people incarcerated in the federal system who are not a threat to public safety” who would be “assets, mentors, and leaders in their communities if they were given the chance to come home.”Clemency lawyer Brittany Byrd, campaign director for #cut50, said Obama had “saved Trenton Copeland’s life” by granting him clemency.

To read full article, go to: Obama Grants 330 Drug Prisoners Early Freedom On Final Day Of Presidency | The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama Shortens Prison Sentences for 61 Drug Offenders

Obama Prison Drug Offenders
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House on March 30, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

article by Josh Lederman, AP via thegrio.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday commuted the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders, including more than a third serving life sentences, giving new energy to calls for overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations. Obama’s commutation shortens their sentences, with most of the inmates set to be released on July 28.

Obama has long called for getting rid of strict sentences for drug offenses that critics say lead to excessive punishment and sky-high incarceration rates. With Obama’s support, the Justice Department in recent years has directed prosecutors to rein in the use of harsh mandatory minimums and expanded the criteria for inmates applying for clemency.

Though there’s wide bipartisan support in Congress for overhauling the criminal justice system, momentum has slowed as the chaotic presidential campaign has made cooperation between Republicans and Democrats increasingly difficult.

Obama, in a letter to the inmates, said the presidential power to grant commutations and pardons “embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”

Obama met for lunch Wednesday with people whose sentences were previously commuted to hear about the challenges of re-entering society.

The latest commutations bring to 248 the total number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted, more than the past six presidents combined, the White House said. The pace of commutations and the rarer use of pardons are expected to increase as the end of Obama’s presidency nears.

To read more, go to: http://thegrio.com/2016/03/30/obama-prison-sentences-drug-offenders-clemency/

President Obama Commutes Sentences of 46 Non-Violent Drug Offenders

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.40.39 PM
(Photo via YouTube)

A week after the White House announced the president would commute sentences for dozens of non-violent drug offenders this summer, Barack Obama made good on the promise, freeing 46 non-violent drug offenders Monday afternoon.

The move is a historic one; the president commuted more sentences at one time than any president has since Lyndon B. Johnson, the Washington Post points out.

In a video posted to Facebook, which you can see if you click here, Obama expounded on the effort to correct the tough and unfair sentencing that disproportionately affects minority men and, in turn, destroys communities.

“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free.”But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”

“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free.”But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”

During his presidency, Obama has commuted sentences for 89 people. Since agreeing to rectify the unfair sentencing that is a large pillar of prison reform, about 35,000 inmates have applied to be considered for early release.

Surprisingly, prison reform has become a bipartisan issue, garnering support from Democrats, Republicans, and those in between. Obama’s latest effort comes just days before he’s set to make history as the first sitting president to visit a federal prison.

On Thursday, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and inmates at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City.  According to a White House press release, the president will also be conducting an interview for a “Vice” documentary focused on the criminal justice system in this nation.

article by Christina Coleman via theurbandaily.com